We Must Make Great Ideas Safe to Follow #36 #cong18


Ideas can be split into two categories: safe and dangerous. A Safe Idea is one that is readily accepted by the status quo.
A Dangerous Idea is one that challenges the status quo’s paradigm of seeing themselves and the world. The ability to thrive depends on our capacity to find the courage necessary to follow our greatest ideas.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Following safe ideas leads to regret but the pay-off is social survival.
  2. Following dangerous Ideas leads to fulfilment and thriving.
  3. Feeling a sense of belonging in a group of two or more people who passionately believe in our idea is crucial for successfully bringing the idea from acorn to oak.
  4. The greatest ideas have created world change through first meeting the need of human belonging.

About Mark Usher:

I’m the life-coach for men, chief spiritual maverick in residence, philosopher, vlogger and revolutionary soul at MarkUsher.me.

Contacting Mark Usher:

You can contact Mark by email

By Mark Usher.

I believe the future of the world has never depended more on great ideas getting from acorn stage to fully grown magnificent oak stage. Indeed the greatest commodity of the world is great ideas.

I believe ideas roughly fall into two categories A. Safe Ideas B. Dangerous Ideas

A Safe Idea is one that is readily accepted by the status quo.

A Dangerous Idea is one that challenges the status quo’s paradigm of seeing themselves and the world.

What if all major possibilities of radical progress in our own lives, those of our companies and for humanity itself depended on dangerous ideas?  You see a breakthrough idea can’t come via a safe idea. Only a dangerous idea has the capacity to “breakthrough” a current level of understanding to land upon an entirely new possible course of action.

Yet when people are asked to describe their number one greatest regret in life, they almost unanimously report something they did not do a.k.a. a great idea they did not act on.

I propose here now that the reason so many of us fail to follow our greatest ideas is that we perceive the danger too much.

But why such a feeling of danger?

We have a biological intense need to feel like we belong to a group. We fear opinions of others because not so long ago in our evolution, if the opinions of others went against us we could be ousted from our tribe. The cost of this happening could literally be a death sentence.

Literally speaking, social psychologists have found that our need to belong is greater than our need for physical and emotional safety.

Let’s Play!

To demonstrate this dynamic, play with me for a moment.

Imagine holding an elastic on near full stretch between your two index fingers, one hovering over the other in mid-air. The top finger represents the Magnitude of Idea on a scale of dangerous (high up) to safe(low down).

The lower finger represents our inner courage to successfully act on to completion our idea. Yet, holding the two fingers stationary in mid-air creates too much build up of tension. It’s like trying to hold your pee in indefinitely…somethings gotta give!

Play with me some more. Let’s say there are two choices. One is to lower the magnitude of your idea from dangerous to safe. The other is to rise up your courage.

Most people drop the magnitude of the idea to meet their fundamental need to belong.

Downgrade your idea, you experience regret but you survive.

Upgrade your courage you experience fulfilment and you thrive.

A Bridge to Safety
So we need to build a safe bridge that gets people from idea formation to idea manifestation, from acorn to oak. The safe bridge that gets a person with a dangerously great idea across the River of Regret to the land of full manifestion of the great idea is built on the answer of one question:

How do I overcome the fear of opinions of others?

But if the need to belong is the poison it also paradoxically is the antidote. Let me explain.
Of course there are many different ways but I want to introduce you all to what I believe is the single greatest strategy for overcoming the fear of opinions of others.

There was research done in social conformity. A group of people were given two pages. One had one vertical line drawn on it. The other page had three lines titled A, B and C. The people were asked which line A,B or C was the same as the single line on the first page. The answer was obvious. Yet the twist is that the subject being experimented on was at the end of the line to give a clear, answered response. All the others answered a scripted similar incorrect answer. The majority of subjects followed with their answer in conformity with the group consensus.

The interesting thing is this. When the research was repeated with the addition of one person who gave a scripted correct answer in the middle of the majority giving scripted incorrect answers, this one supporting voice dramatically reduced the impulse to conform.

The key bit of evidence here is that all it takes is one supporting voice for us to go with our inner idea of what is right. It effectively makes a dangerous idea into a safe idea.

Mastering the Challenge of Acorn to Oak
Unawareness causes us to conform by default with the status quo. The greatest counter-strategy is connecting with one or more people who believe our idea is normal. Maybe they themselves have done what you propose to do, or they simply hold the space to allow you feel powerful in your idea. Fidel found Che. Barrack found Michelle. Thelma found Louise  Once we feel we have a group where we belong, we will find the courage to follow any idea.

As a business or organisation your ability to thrive in such times of rapid change depends entirely on your ability to harvest the full power of great ideas. It is imperative that you take radical action on creating a truly safe culture where great, challenging, different, wild and potentially off-the-wall ideas are made to feel home. As all innovation and creativity experts know, the easiest path to great ideas come from developing lots of ideas.

One Last Thought
A revolutionary uprising of human magnificence is needed now like never before to meet the challenges and opportunities we collectively face. It could be that this revolution takes fire when we allow the greatest ideas become the safest ideas to follow?…